After their strong performance at the New York State Championship meet, the men’s track and field team switched gears in order to focus on individual performances at Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships on March 4 and 5.

Although scoring points was a secondary goal, the Yellowjackets as a team were also successful. UR finished tied for ninth out of more than 30 teams that registered at least one point in the meet.

In the 800-meter run, junior Chris Clark was in contention to qualify for National Collegiate Athletic Association Championships.

Despite a strong third place finish, the pace of the event was too slow – Clark finished with a time of 1:56.33 and did not qualify.

Senior Matt Rodems ran the 1,000-meter run in 2:43.93. Rodens’ time put him in eighth place for the event.

The 1,600-meter relay team of junior Kirk Bristol, sophomore Brian MacIlvain, Clark and junior Matt Tierney ran 3:22.26. The Yellowjacket relay team finished in second place by less than one tenth of a second.

The distance medley relay team of junior Chris Nolan, MacIlvain, Rodems and senior Dan Duett also finished second. They ran 10:30.32.

Graduate student Andrew Wunder used the ECACs as a final competitive warm-up for the upcoming Nationals.

Wunder threw 17.36 meters, finishing third in the event. The following week at the NCAA Championships was Wunder’s most impressive performance of the season.

With a throw of 17.66 meters in the finals round, Wunder placed sixth overall at NCAA Division III Track and Field National Championships. His performance earned him All-America honors.

“[Wunder] handled the pressure like the veteran that he is,” Head Coach John Izzo said. “He did a really outstanding job.”

Also at Nationals, the same 1,600-meter relay team that competed at ECACs ran 3:22.10 in the preliminary round. Though the time topped their performance from the week before, it ultimately was not fast enough to qualify for the finals.

Individually, Tierney ran 50.80 seconds in the preliminary round of the 400 meter dash and did not qualify for finals.

One night before he competed at Nationals, Tierney was recognized as the Atlantic Region’s Division III Outstanding Track Athlete of the Year.

With the indoor season over, the team will begin its transition to the outdoor season.

The Yellowjackets’ outdoor season will begin on April 2 when the team travels to Liberty College in Virginia.

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